Small Museum Buys Chagall for $42,500

Someone at the London Jewish Museum of Art had a good eye for a deal when purchasing Marc Chagall’s previously unknown work for well under $50,000 at a Paris auction, despite its estimated value of $1.6 million. Keeping their find of the century confidential from larger institutions, the tiny British museum was able to bid on the modernist pioneer’s painting for a fraction of its worth. Though the 1945 work, “Apocalypse in Lilac, Capriccio” is insured for roughly $640,000, some experts believe it’s valued at more than twice that amount. The museum continued to refrain from revealing their purchase for months out of fear that upon learning of its full significance, the French authorities would refuse them an export license for the painting. After three months of silence, the Chagall will be unveiled at the Osborne Samuel Gallery in Mayfair, London this week. Chagall, referred to as the quintessential Jewish artist of the past century, used the gouache technique on the painting, which is part of series in which the crucifixion represents the persecution of Jews in World War II. Though it’s the only work of the collection to go on the market, the Tajan, a top French auction house, was apparently unaware of its importance.